So I gave Battle: Los Angeles a look on Saturday. I wasn’t really in the mood for a military action epic alien invasion flick, but, me being the video game, sci-fi and military entertainment junkie that I am, I got into it pretty easy. This is probably what the movie does best – it’s a great propaganda film for the Marines. How better to get kids to sign up and defend the great nation of the U. S. of A. then by showing off the technical teamwork and athleticism, sheer courage and determination and the discipline that goes into shaping a true marine, a vanguard of our freedom (well, yours), and having hundreds of those men and women shoot at aliens! And almost all of them die! Without batting a damn eyelash, either. Man those guys love your mom and her right to own a goddamn 7 seater SUV.
Everything else, besides the whole military exercise stuff, is crap. It’s bland looking, and some may argue Black Hawk Down would look similar, but Ridley Scott is a master, so it isn’t boring monotony even in the middle of a sun-soaked desert city and this guy – whom I don’t have the motivation to google – is a total hack. It’s repetitive (I feel bad complaining about this, it’s a summer action movie after all), it was written by infants (“I need you to be my little marine”) or maybe it was written by the Pentagon, that makes more sense, and it was just altogether boring. Constantly loud, hard to keep track of everything going on with it’s shaky cam aesthetic, and just a bit of a “it could have been great but it fell short” candidate. If they just got one person with a shred of sense to listen to the dialog and suggest a slight alteration to make it less “durr we need character development so let’s dictate to the audience what exactly is the relationship, history or personality of our characters” this movie could have been in my Blu Ray collection.
But nooo, we’ll keep it like this. It’s easier for the kids to understand, and that way they’ll be more likely to by the piece-of-shit tie in video game. Which is probably the funniest single fact of this entire movie – I felt like I was watching someone play Call of Duty: Alien Edition for 2 hours. It was really that entertaining, and lacking in every other department besides getting the blood pumping. It had the slight feeling of a movie, the rising action, the climax, all those things but it happened so often, and the atmosphere was so consistently “gunfire and shouts” the whole way through that you forget about it, and it almost becomes level 1 start to level 1 end, start level 2, level 2 end, etc. It got so many sighs out of me I felt guilty. I’m supposed to like this! I want to even! but I couldn’t. Now, this is definitely someone’s cup of tea, and I won’t lie, Transformers does it for me, but this movie was just not as well refined as Michael Bay’s stuff. He gets paid for this for a reason, he knows how to make all style no substance popcorn flicks – and leave me satisfied with it after. This movie couldn’t do it. It just made me want to go home and play my video games, which were ultimately more interesting. Oh well.
So if you are craving mindless popcorn action, and don’t mind a bit of monotony and face-palm worthy dialog (“No promises in combat!”) then give it a look. I can see myself watching this at home 3 years down the line, reminiscing about the cool part where they shot the aliens and they almost died but didn’t (all 10 times this happened) but until then, I’ll say it simply: Entertaining does not require the movie to be a “good” movie, but good movie’s are just so much more entertaining. Want an adrenaline induced coma this weekend? Give it a look, it may do you over.